Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Complete school based homeschool program

Buried in another post, I have written about this before. I would however like to take some time to discuss it in detail as to make it clear what the program would involve if it did exist. Unfortunately I don't believe it does.

What the program is about and how it works
The basics are that an intelligent student who believes he/she would benefit from such program, probably only for the last 2 or so years of high school, will be able to take the material home to complete instead. When the material is completed and studied to what the student finds satisfactory, the student will return to the school for a few days and complete assessment tasks.

As to simulate the student actually attending the school, the curriculum will be exactly the same. Just all material will be outsourced as homework. This is for students who don't believe they need a teacher telling them what they have to learn if the curriculum is given to them.

Students will have to attend school once a week, perhaps a dozen of them on the same program in a designated classroom, to catch up on missed school activities. Such as if their class had watched a movie that was important to the subject or if there was information vital to their success. A staff member, perhaps a year coordinator, will check what they have been studying to ensure they are in the right place and so the student may request assistance if necessary. They might not have to attend for a full day, only a few hours.

So students are still enrolled in the school, and they still learn but intelligently in their own way. It would be just like attending school, but not physically.

Obviously, the most important benefit is time saving. I believe if I were on such program, each term would be completed in a few weeks, not ten. Because of the inefficiency and wasted time during school, the same amount could be done much faster without having to sit in class wasting time. It is not necessarily the schools fault. They can't really make a better system then having 70 minute lessons because sometimes that time is needed. Often it is not in which case it won't be used effectively. Learning at home as an individual obviously does not enforce this time block system.

Secondly, students will greatly exercise time management skills. I believe time management is one key to personal development and as such, being able to train time management at a young age will greatly benefit students on the program.

They will enjoy learning more. Students on this program are on it because they don't like learning at school. Not because they don't like school(well they don't), but because they don't like the ineffective methods used. If they don't like learning at school, they don't like going to school. By not learning at school, they should enjoy it more. I would.

It will increase their out of school social life. At first they might feel deprived of being socially active. They won't have school to rely on to make friends anymore(this is why it should be last few years of high school only). It will just mean they have to go and be social in a way which does not involve school, like they would have in a few years anyway.

Increase free time. Having the unit done so quickly will mean there is a long time before the next one, holidays will each be 2 months in length at least. This will give the student plenty of time to do extra curriculum activities, learn other things, get a job or just use at their leisure.

Not compatible with all classes. This can easily be solved by having the student attend school while those classes are on. Such as, HPE(playing sport, not theory), woodwork and metalwork, and possibly a few other specific classes. Not all students take these classes. I know that my classes could easily be completed at home on this program.

Does not fit in with bus schedule. Students who would have to catch a bus which only leaves at the end of school, and have classes which must be completed at school as mentioned above, would have to remain at school for the entire day. "The intervention room" could come into use, as the student could just remain there to complete what they would have at home, so they wouldn't have to do quite as much at home. Lowers the benefits slightly, but it's no major deal really.

Personally, I would want to do this. I thought of it while I was ranting about school and I can't see any reason why it should not happen. The only thing is, not many students from each school would want to do it. That's not really a problem though, but they would not really bother if just a few were going to do it. I am sure I could do it, particularly if I slept polyphasically.

EDIT - further complications and solutions
I received a comment which pointed out a few flaws with this design, so I would like to work out a solution for them.

So I believe the main point of concern is that at a public school, much is taught orally. This isn't always the case. Not with the school I go to as teachers usually hand out the information they are reading from anyway. However it does happen. I will agree that teachers will often teach orally. Perhaps more so to the students who do not quite understand, such as in maths. Subjects like maths are fairly simple to learn from the textbook. Making use of the given examples and looking at some of the answers usually helps understand the concepts, not just the formulas.

Some other subjects however, given exactly what the students who attended the class normally were given, but without actually attending class may not be sufficient to learn the requirements. The obvious solution to this is give students on this program more resources. Textbooks, Internet(which we all have), and their research skills should be enough.

Some subjects will require the student to actually attend like I already mentioned when I wrote this. Like I also said, just attend those, not the rest. Some students will end up going to school an hour on Monday, 2 hours on Wednesday and maybe a bit longer on Friday. Does not majorly reduce the benefits of this program.

Another issue was that many people are homeschooled because they want to choose what they learn and have their own curriculum. That is true but this is designed for people who are okay with the public high school curriculum and only have a major issue with the wasted time. This ties in with people who are homeschooling for religious reasons. If they aren't okay with the curriculum, it is not for them.

Another flaw I realised is that, unless the education department, and the school both accepted the idea and managed to incorporate it into their system, it unfortunately just wont happen. Too bad, but I still like and support the idea.


christinemm said...

I assume this a public school you are talking about? If so, so much of the teaching is done orally by lecture and/or facilitated by the teacher in the class. Therefore how would giving the same books to the student to self-teach from get the task done?

I can see your idea but I don't think the same texts could be used at home as in school.

Also have you heard about the self-teaching homeschool program called The Robinson Curriculum? It has been around for years and is all self-teaching. There is an interesting story behind how it got created. It is not expensive either if the reading is done from the CD (not something I'd like to personally do).


Their story:


One more glitch in your idea. Those people homeschooling for religious reasons, whether Catholic or Protestant or Muslim may not be open to using all secular texts if this program you propose was run from a public school.

Another glitch, those homeschooling to have a very alternative education experience would reject this type of set up as it is exactly what they are seeking to avoid. I am speaking of the unschoolers who are directing their own course of studies and eschewing the traditional school conent.

I appreciate that you have the idea and blogged it. It is good to ponder ideas and then to read comments etc.

I linked through from the comment you left on "Why Homeschool" blog.

I am a homeschool mom whose kids aged 8 and 11 have never been in school.

monototo said...

I wrote a response to some of your ideas here: http://monototo.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/rebusywork/

I look forward to hearing about how your polyphasic sleep goes. One day I'm going to try to do this myself. Good luck with it!

I've enjoyed reading your blog, thanks for taking the time to publish your thoughts, it's interesting stuff. All the best!